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Boston Rob Mariano Jokes He Had Some ‘Post-Show Criticism’ for Deal or No Deal Island’s Aron Barbell (Exclusive)

Rob “Boston Rob” Mariano found an unlikely ally with Aron Barbell on Deal or No Deal Island, and the duo have remained close since.

“It was like a training camp for him. I was telling him all the things that he did wrong and right on the show, giving him a little post-show criticism,” Mariano, 48, exclusively told Us Weekly on Friday, April 19 about Barbell’s recent visit to see him and his family. “I’m teasing. He’s a great dude, and it was fun to catch up.”

The duo “connected early” in the game as they were in the same car that took them to the banker’s island on the NBC competition series. Barbell immediately recognized Mariano and decided he wanted to link up with the former Survivor winner in this new game.

“We were lucky enough to be put in that same Jeep, which was completely random,” Mariano explained to Us. “And then from that we found out we were from the same part of the country, so we had a lot in common.”

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While Mariano initially thought he could use Barbell for his “benefit in the game,” the pair ultimately “developed a genuine friendship.” Alongside their partnership, Mariano and Barbell brought in Claudia Jordan and Alyssa Klinzing to their squad which was referred to as “Rob’s Mob” by some of the other contestants. However, the others formed a coalition against Mariano and successfully got Jordan and Klinzing out but Barbell and Mariano remained so far despite a couple close calls.

“At the same time, I also am always aware that I’m playing a game and whatever my alliance or friendship — whatever you want to call it in the game — is potentially in order for them to win, [and eventually] they have to get rid of me,” Mariano told Us. “So it’s mutual back and forth and I’m pretty aware of it. But Aron’s great to play with and it was fun to see him kind of evolve over the course of the season up until this point.”

Boston Rob Mariano Jokes He Had Some ‘Post-Show Criticism’ for Deal or No Deal Island’s Aron Barbell
Boston Rob Mariano, Aron Barbell. Monty Brinton/NBC(2)

In the Monday, April 22, episode of Deal or No Deal Island, Barbell and Mariano faced potential elimination after Barbell made a critical mistake in the challenge. The twosome partnered up to retrieve two unmarked cases scattered across the island. Mariano took the lead as the driver while Barbell opted to be the navigator.

Mariano came up with a plan for the pair to go after a low-value case and one of the banker’s mysterious red cases, which included either the option to steal another team’s case or the case with the lowest value, which contained $1 million. Barbell agreed with the plan, that way he and Mariano could put themselves in the Deal or No Deal game with the banker and avoid being the target for elimination.

Boston Rob Mariano Jokes He Had Some ‘Post-Show Criticism’ for Deal or No Deal Island’s Aron Barbell
Monty Brinton/NBC

They had an early lead at first and Mariano grabbed the first red case of the game. However while on the way to retrieve the second case, Barbell had technical difficulties with his walkie-talkie and couldn’t communicate with Mariano. When Mariano arrived at the second case location, he randomly picked one and returned to Barbell.

Barbell assured him it should have been the $3.75 million case, but Barbell misread the map. Mariano unknowingly brought back the highest value in the game: $5 million. Barbell and Mariano’s red case contained $1 million so their total value equaled $6 million, which put them in the middle of the pack.

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Jordan Fowler and Amy McCoy earned immunity while Nick Grasso and Dr. Stephanie Mitchell lost the challenge and faced the banker at the end of the day. Grasso ultimately played the nightly game of Deal or No Deal against the banker.

While Grasso ended up scoring the highest amount in Deal or No Deal history with a $4.417 million offer, he was eliminated after he made a bad deal with the banker after learning his case had $4.5 million inside. Grasso’s misfortune let Mariano and Barbell live another day in the game.

Deal or No Deal Island airs on NBC on Mondays at 10 p.m. EST.

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